GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke before the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday in Reno adnd hammered the Obama administration’s foreign policy from the middle east to defense cuts. One particular issue that Mr. Romney pointed out was the threat of “radical Islamic terrorism.”
The Obama administration has been known to steer clear of relating terror threats to “radical Islam” or to “Islamic extremism.” In March of 2009, the White House scrapped the phrase “global war on terror” and replaced it with “Overseas Contingency Operation.” Another phrase the administration adopted in 2009, ,according to a Fox News column by Judith Miller, was “war on Al Qaeda, its affiliates, and adherents.”
“This isn’t a time for the president’s radical cuts in the military. Look around the world. Other major powers are rapidly adding to their military capabilities. Some with intentions very different than our own. The regime in Tehran is drawing closer to developing a nuclear weapon. The threat of radical Islamic terrorism persists,” said Mr. Romney.
He went further saying, “The threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation is ever present and we’re still at war. And we still have uniformed men and women in conflict. All this and more is going on in the world. And yet the president has chosen this moment for wholesale reductions in the nation’s military capacity.”
“When the biggest announcement in the last state of the union address on improving our military was that the Pentagon would start using clean energy, then you know its time for a change,” Mr. Romney added.
Obama’s own cabinet refuses to label radical Islamic terror incidents when they occur. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill criticized the administration for calling the Fort Hood massacre “workplace violence.” In the transcript below, Paul N. Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense could not tell Rep. Dan Lungren, California Republican, at a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee.
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LUNGREN: Secretary Stockton, are we at war with violent Islamist extremism?
STOCKTON: No, sir. We are at war with al Qaeda, its affiliates, and adherents —
LUNGREN: Ok, I understand that. My question is, is violent Islamist extremism at war with us?
STOCKTON: No, sir. We are being attacked by al Qaeda and its allies.
LUNGREN: Is al Qaeda — can it be described as being an exponent of violent Islamist extremism?
STOCKTON: Al Qaeda are murderers with an ideological agenda —
LUNGREN: That’s not my question, that wasn’t my question. My question was, is al Qaeda acting out violent Islamist extremism?
STOCKTON: Al Qaeda is a violent organization dedicated to overthrowing the values that we intend to advance —
LUNGREN: Yes or no?
STOCKTON: Can I hear the question again?
In May of 2010, Congressman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, questioned Attorney General Eric Holder and showed that President Obama’s own Attorney General could not say that radical Islam was a motivating factor to terrorist attempts against the United States. (included in video above)
SMITH: Let me go to my next question, which is — in — in the case of all three attempts in the last year, the terrorist attempts, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam. Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?
HOLDER: Because of?
SMITH: Radical Islam.
HOLDER: There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions. It’s — one, I think you have to look at each individual case. I mean, we are in the process now of talking to Mr. Shahzad to try to understand what it is that drove him to take the action. SMITH: Yes, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?
HOLDER: There are a variety of reasons why people…
SMITH: But was radical Islam one of them?
HOLDER: There are a variety of reasons why people do things. Some of them are potentially religious…
SMITH: OK. But all I’m asking is if you think among those variety of reasons radical Islam might have been one of the reasons that the individuals took the steps that they did.
HOLDER: You see, you say radical Islam. I mean, I think those people who espouse a — a version of Islam that is not…
SMITH: Are you uncomfortable attributing any other actions to radical Islam? It sounds like it.
HOLDER: No, I don’t want to say anything negative about a religion that is not…
SMITH: No, no. I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about radical Islam. I’m not talking about the general religion.
HOLDER: Right. And I’m saying that a person, like Anwar Awlaki, for instance, who has a version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it…
HOLDER: … and who espouses a radical version…
SMITH: But then is — could radical Islam had motivated these individuals to take the steps that they did?
HOLDER: I certainly think that it’s possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to have an impact on people like Mr. Shahzad.
SMITH: OK. And could it have been the case in one of these three instances?
HOLDER: Could that have been the case?
SMITH: Yes, could — again, could one of these three individuals have been incited by radical Islam? Apparently, you feel that that they could’ve been.
HOLDER: Well, I think potentially incited by people who have a view of Islam that is inconsistent with…
SMITH: OK. Mr. A.G., it’s hard to get an answer yes or no, but let me go on to my next question.
By simply referencing that Islamic extremism is a threat to the United States, Romney has shown a stark contrast in his foreign policy views from the current administration. Many will find this refreshing and not miss the ridiculous back and forth merry-go-round descriptions the Obama administration uses to what it considers a threat to the nation.